Do you find it difficult to wear a face mask?
Does wearing a face-covering make you feel uncomfortable?
Do you believe that wearing a face mask or covering is a waste of time?
These are just some of the questions that many people have when it comes to wearing protective face products during this pandemic.
With face coverings now a compulsory item if you want to enter shops in England at the moment it is essential that you have the right information and also some additional help on how o get the best out of them.
It might still feel quite surreal but one thing we have to all agree on is how important protective equipment, such as face masks, are going to be to drive down the spread of what is a highly contagious virus.
I know I may be preaching to the choir here but I think it’s important to emphasise the important role masks play, I found this particularly interesting from Dr Chin Hong, a world-renowned infectious disease specialist
“The concept is risk reduction rather than absolute prevention. You don’t throw up your hands if you think a mask is not 100 per cent effective. That’s silly. Nobody’s taking a cholesterol medicine because they’re going to prevent a heart attack 100 per cent of the time, but you’re reducing your risk substantially. In the case of COVID-19, it is not just the risk to yourself that should be considered, it is of those around you and the wider population. There are 3 W’s to ward off COVID-19: wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance. But of the three, the most important thing is wearing a mask.”
As important as they are face coverings can be uncomfortable at times. So what can we do to make them easier to wear?
Make Sure It Fits You
This may sound obvious but there a snug fit is a bare minimum here. If your mask is loose or ill-fitting then you the mask isn’t working to it’s full potential. There are a few ways to enable a more secure fit for those who have a smaller face than the standard measurements used in mask production, check out this video on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCfyQ_N5IZI, I use this whilst in the clinic to ensure that my mask stays put.
Your mask should cover from the bridge of your nose to just under your chin. A snug fit shouldn’t mean that it hurts your face, if this is the case then your mask is too tight. Make sure you get the balance right before you head out to the shops otherwise you’ll likely fiddle with it while you are out and about which greatly reduces how effective it is.
Masks are only as effective as the user and don’t forget that wearing a mask doesn’t protect you, they are only made to restrict exhalation, not inhalation. Medical masks reduce up to 98% of particles on exhalation, hence I ask all patients to wear a non-fabric medical face mask as we are unable to adhere to social distancing guidelines. For all other situations then a fabric mask is fine 🙂
Is Elastic The Right Choice For You?
Many masks have elastic fastenings but they aren’t always the best fit. I personally prefer the tie-on coverings as I find them more comfortable and easier to tailor to my own comfort requirements.
It really is a case of ‘horses for courses’ here so experiment and see what works best for you. We’ll likely have to get used to wearing masks for the foreseeable so buy a few different types to see which works best for you.
Wash You Mask
If you own a fabric mask then you should remember to wash your mask regularly especially in these warmer summer months. Ideally the mask should be worn once and then washed as there may be virus particle on the mask that will be spread around in your car, home or wherever you put the mask. Wash your mask on a minimum of a 60°c wash with detergent to kill any viruses or bacteria that may have collected on it. If makes sense to have a few on the go, a clean one to wear, one in the wash and one ready to go!
Not only is this ensuring the safe longevity of your mask but the additional comfort offered by a well kept, clean mask should not be underestimated.
Remove Your Mask The Right Way
When taking off your mask always remember to avoid touching the mask or your face. Remove it from the ties or fastenings if it isn’t a reusable mask make sure you dispose of it carefully and safely.
If it is a reusable mask be mindful that it may be contaminated and to keep it somewhere safe and secure until you can wash it.
I hope this advice helps you to stay safe, secure and comfortable during these uncertain times and we hope to see you all soon.
Until next time,